Sunday, May 15, 2011

Raspberry Shortbread Bars with Crumb Topping

raspberry bars on a silver platter
These delicious raspberry shortbread cookies are certainly worth a few words and pictures.
I can't share the recipe for these wonderful shortbread bars with you here, but I'm happy to show you the end product! If only you could taste it, too! To do that, you'll have to get a copy of Joanne Chang's recent (and excellent) cookbook, Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe.

I can, however, share my experience making (and eating) these delights, and I provide a few tips I learned along the way.

joanne chang's delicious raspberry shortbread cookies
This raspberry bars recipe is delicious! Hats off to Joanne Chang!
"Spectacular" pretty much sums up Joanne Chang's Raspberry Crumb Bars. Straight out of the pan, they're already towering above the quotidian cookie in terms of taste and presentation. To pump up the fancy, you can dust them with powdered sugar right before serving. A silver tray doesn't hurt, either.
this raspberry shortbread bar is a delicious cookie to have on hand
The browned top of a delicious raspberry bar.
The star of the ensemble is the shortbread bar base. Buttery and golden, it is the product of Joanne's own expert know-how and her early experiences working for pastry chef Rick Katz.  A heaping quantity of raspberry jam spread over the raspberry bar cookies adds a beautiful ruby layer and bright contrasting flavor. Top the gem-like raspberry layer with shortbread crumbles, and you truly have something to look forward to once they cool.
the raspberry bars are topped with a shortbread crumble
Boston's Flour Bakery serves up this delicious raspberry bars recipe, which you can now make at home thanks to Joanne's great cookbook.

Tips for Making Raspberry Shortbread Cookies

If you make these delicious raspberry crumb bars, here's a tip: At one point, the recipe asks you to roll the shortbread bar dough into a 9x13 inch rectangle. Do your best freehand, and then use this trick: take a 9x13 inch pan, flip it over, and use it like a huge cookie cutter to gently press down and find the rectangle boundaries. Cut off the excess dough and press it into the areas that are lacking. Smooth it out again with a rolling pin. Nice trick!